Police say two men arrested in Jussie Smollett case are released "due to new evidence"


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By Phil Helsel

Two men arrested in connection with an alleged attack on "Empire" star, Jussie Smollett, were released without charge because of new evidence from interrogations conducted on Friday, Chicago police said.

"Due to new evidence resulting from today's interrogations, those interviewed by the police in the Empire case have been released without charge and investigators have an investigative job." extra to complete, "said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi in a statement.

Smollett filed a report with the Chicago Police Department on Jan. 29, indicating that two masked men had thrown racist and homophobic slurs before hitting him. The actor also said that his assailants had poured him what he thought was bleach and he had passed the rope around his neck.

The ministry said it was investigating the alleged attack on Smollett, who is black and gay, as a possible hate crime.

Police spokesman Tom Ahern said earlier Friday that two men whom the police interrogated as part of the alleged attack had been arrested and interrogated but were not charged. .

Police said the two men, who are brothers, would be men of a still-image previously released by the police. The image was taken from a surveillance video the night of the attack.

The men were arrested Wednesday by officers at the Oporto International Airport in Hare, after returning from Nigeria, their home country. On Thursday, the police served a search warrant on their home.

At least one of the men worked on "Empire," Guglielmi said.

Guglielmi says in a tweet On Thursday, the brothers were in an "area of ​​concern". The police had previously released photos taken with surveillance cameras of two "potentially interesting people" in this case.

Later on Thursday, Guglielmi tweeted in response to local reports citing unnamed sources that police would check whether Smollett and the two men had organized the attack.

Guglielmi stated that the information is not confirmed and that Supt. Eddie Johnson had contacted a Chicago media outlet to inform him that "their alleged sources of CPD are misinformed and inaccurate".

Some social media users began to cast doubt on Smollett's claims after the police had stated that they were not able to find images of the alleged attack after viewing a video. large amount of recordings from many surveillance cameras in the area.

Police also said that Smollett had refused to hand over his phone and telephone records for the purpose of the investigation. The actor had told police that he was on the phone with his supervisor at the time of the attack. The police, however, testified that Smollett cooperated with the investigation and then provided the investigators with a PDF file containing partial telephone records.

In an interview with "Good Morning America" ​​on ABC Thursday, Smollett said he was annoyed by the fact that some people wondered if the attack had taken place.

"It's like, you know, at first it was a bit like," Listen, if I tell the truth, then that's it, because it's the truth, "Smollett said. "So, it sounded like:" Oh, how can you doubt it? How, how can you not believe that? It's the truth. "

"I have the impression that if I had said that it was a Muslim, a Mexican or a black, I think the unbelievers would have me far more supported, which says a lot about the current situation in our country "he said.

Elisha Fieldstadt and Janelle Griffith contributed.

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